Nashville, Tenn. - Former Tennessee State University Football team captain and standout offensive lineman, Cecil Newton, reportedly signed with the New Orleans Saints this week.
Newton played for the Tigers from 2004-08 with the signing reported by ProFootballTalk.com and later confirmed by the team that they acquired the 6'2", 303-pound center.
Yardbarker.com reported Saints' head coach Sean Payton cut a practice short due to a lack of depth on the offensive line and cancelled practice the following day to allow the players a one day earlier than planned day off.
The signing of Newton assists in filling a gray area for the Saints at the center position. The extra camp body at center makes sense with C Jonathan Goodwin still not in camp yet pending his eventual resigning with the team or leaving for another organization in free agency. Second-year player, Matt Tennant, is holding down the fort as the only active center in camp right now.
Newton joins the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champions after he was drafted by the Hartford Colonials with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 UFL Draft. With the UFL circling the drain, it appears that the league has given players the ability to abandon their contracts.
In 2009, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent and was active for two games, but did not play.
According to perennialse.com analysis on Newton - "Durable is the first word that comes to mind when looking at the statistics of Cecil Newton. Newton started each game (39) for four years straight during college. But scouts are quick to point out that Newton's playing ability will bring forth several different adjectives."
They also added, "Newton, who consistently graded above 90 percent on game film, is considered one of the most versatile and athletic lineman to play at TSU."
Newton was an All Ohio Valley Conference selection as a sophomore; he became the anchor of a line that would consistently help produce 1,000 yard rushers. The following season, Newton was named team captain, and again, helped the offense average 408 total yards per game. In 2008, he was a first-team All OVC selection, selected to play in a pair of all star games and had a total of 35 knock down blocks.
Newton was recognized as one of the best centers in FCS and one of the top six centers in the nation. He is the older brother of the 2011 NFL Draft No. 1 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Ca. Newton was selected by the Carolina Panthers and are in the same division (NFC South) as the Saints.